Road trip: Four local high schools travel to open playoffs | Local Sports
After the dust settles on Georgia’s 10-game high school regular season, four of the seven Whitfield and Murray counties have football left to play.
Coahulla Creek, Dalton, North Murray and Christian Heritage School have all added at least one game to their seasons and all need to win away for another opportunity to adapt. Northwest Whitfield, Southeast Whitfield and Murray County are looking forward to next season.
Due to a shortage of officials, two of those playoff teams will play on Saturday while the other two take the field tonight.
North Murray and Christian Heritage play tonight while Coahulla Creek and Dalton wait until Saturday to get started.
Coahulla Creek will face Sandy Creek for the first time in the school playoffs
The Coahulla Creek Colts battled this season to a school-record seven wins to earn the first winning season and playoff appearance in Coahulla Creek’s 11-year football history.
The reward for the Colts? A trip to Tyrone to play the state’s third-ranked team in Class 3A in the Atlanta Journal Constitution rankings.
Coahulla Creek (7-3) plays Sandy Creek (8-2) in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs at 7:30 a.m. Saturday night.
Sandy Creek blasted his way to his 8-2 record in a loaded 5-3A region. The Patriots beat fourth-place team Carver 22-12 for second place in the region but ended up behind Cedar Grove, the No. 1 team in 3A.
The only other loss for Sandy Creek came against the Class 7A playoff team East Coweta, a 23-20 loss in overtime, and the Patriots defeated the Class 7A Collins Hill (33-17) and Class 6A Alexander (48-48). -14) and Newnan (38-27) this season.
The Colts played a higher-ranked team once this year, losing 35-31 to 4A Northwest Whitfield.
The game features teams that cause more offense in the air than on the ground. Coahulla Creek quarterback Kace Kinnamon is one of the most prolific passes in Class 3A with 2,182 passing yards and 20 touchdowns — with 802 of those yards and 12 of the touchdowns going to receiver Manny Dominguez.
Geimere Latimer by Sandy Creek is not far past Kinnamon. He led the Patriots in 1,761 yards and 24 touchdowns in the regular season. The Colts also have to contend with Sandy Creek’s balanced running game, something that Coahulla Creek struggled with in the final game of the regular season against Adairsville. The Colts allowed more than 500 yards rushing into it.
If the Colts pull off the upset, they’ll play the winner of a first-round game between Wesleyan and Stephens County.
Dalton makes playoff return in Loganville
After two lost seasons, the Dalton Catamounts are back in the playoffs.
Sophomore head coach Kit Carpenter and acting senior Tyson Greenwade led Dalton to the Class 5A playoffs, but two season-ending losses to regional powerhouses Calhoun and Cartersville forced the Catamounts to advance to the first round.
Dalton (5-5) travels to Region 8-5A second-place team Loganville (9-1) for Saturday night’s showdown. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 a.m.
Loganville is the #10 team on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The good news for the unranked catamounts? They have a lot of experience against tough competition this season.
Region 7-5A opponents Cartersville and Calhoun are third and ninth respectively. Dalton gave both teams a tough game before losing to Calhoun 28-13 and Cartersville 39-14. Dalton also played against Class 4A No. 1 team Cedartown, losing 43-9.
Loganville’s only game against a currently 5A-ranked team was a 42-6 loss to fourth-seeded Jefferson, the Loganville Region 8 champion.
The Catamounts need strong play from Greenwade, who has had 1,839 rushing yards in nine games this season, to have any chance of creating the upset. Dalton is focused on the ground game, but second quarterback Ethan Long has also made some plays to give the Cats a little more balance since serving as a full-time starter midseason.
Loganville has its own star rusher in Solomon Leslie, who rushed for 1,382 yards and 15 points in the regular season. Dalton’s rushing defense has also struggled lately, giving up 783 rushing yards in Dalton’s last two games.
The winner of Saturday’s game plays the winner of a first round game between Creekside and Greater Atlanta Christian.
North Murray continues their playoff streak with a game at Roswell’s Fellowship Christian
With Northwest Whitfield failing to make the playoffs this season, North Murray’s streak of seven straight playoff appearances is now the longest of any team in Whitfield and Murray counties.
But the Mountaineers have hit a wall in first-round road games since the school’s run to the quarterfinals in 2019.
This year’s first round road hurdle? Roswell’s Fellowship Christian, the 8-2A Region Champion. The Class 2A opening round match is tonight at 7:30pm.
North Murray (6-4) isn’t your typical fourth-place team from a region – the Mountaineers finished second but were sent down to fourth via a three-way tiebreaker – but the Neers have yet to travel, to face a regional champion.
Fellowship (7-3) was a playoff pillar in the old Class A Private and reached the state semifinals last year, but the end of the public-private split sent Fellowship into Class 2A this season.
The Paladins went undefeated 5-0 through Region 8 but finished 2-3 outside the region, including losses to a trio of Class A Division I schools at Mount Pisgah Christian (21-18), St. Francis (35- 28). ) and Rabun County (21-16).
North Murray was tested by some of the larger schools, including Class 5A Dalton and 4A’s Northwest Whitfield, both losses to the Mountaineers. Dalton defeated North Murray 49-27 and Northwest closed out the Mountaineers 35-14.
The passing game, led by quarterback Seth Griffin and two 900-yard receivers, Jadyn Rice and Judson Petty, puts the Mountaineers on offense, but the ‘Neers found more of a running game late on, led by the versatile Petty. Petty hit three quick touchdowns against Rockmart in the regular season finals.
What North Murray needs against a Fellowship Christian offense, who have averaged 37.4 points per game against teams from the region, is to bolster their defense. North Murray gave up 66+ points twice in the last three games of the regular season: 66 against Rockmart and 68 against Fannin County.
Today’s winner plays either Mount Paran Christian or Eagles Landing Christian in the second round.
Christian Heritage makes playoff debut in Greene County
Christian Heritage hasn’t had a win in its two region games, but the Lions have an opportunity to make amends in the playoffs.
Region 7-A Division II only had three football teams, allowing Christian Heritage to enter the postseason as the third seed in the region.
The Lions (4-6) travel to Greensboro to play Greene County in the first round of the Class A Division II playoffs tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Greene County (6-4), the second-seeded team from Region 8, has an almost perfectly balanced offense. The Tigers have 1,561 passing yards and 1,541 rushing yards this season.
The majority of those rushing yards came from Malik West (959), and passer Steve Miller has 1,510 yards and 20 points. The Christian Heritage defense has shown their ability to limit prolific passers this season by holding down Mount Pisgah Christian’s Jack Cendoya.
The Lions ground the lion’s share of their offense, especially this late in the season.
Quarterback Carter Triplett attempted more than five passes just once in the last five games of the season. Senior Eli Thomason rushed for 120 yards four times during the same period for a total of 1,214 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jaylon Gay also came on as a runner late in the season and has crossed 100 yards twice in his last three games.
If the Lions win against Greene County, they will play either Johnson County or Chattahoochee County.